Opening night in Louisville for Blue Like Jazz (7:10 show) was sparse with spectators. I would estimate about 30 people in the theater. For prime time opening night I was expecting a few more patrons than that. However, I live in an area where it is hard to find people who challenge the “church” system and the status quo, so any “churchgoer” living around the Metro area would likely walk out after the first 10 minutes of the film (if they even knew it existed), so having only 30 people does not surprise me.
Actually anyone coming into this show thinking it is a so-called “Christian” movie like “Fireproof” or “Courageous” would be extremely disappointed, and probably would have left before the movie even started due to some racy previews as 3 or 4 of them were rated R with kissing lesbians, and sex on-screen. (And we all know it is a sin to see a rated R movie, right? 🙂 )
Director Steve Taylor did not pigeonhole this flick as a “Christian” as an adjective movie. Blue Like Jazz does not at all feel like a “Christian” movie. But, although I found the movie itself mediocre at best, a tad hard to follow, and difficult to decipher what was going on in Donald’s mind, I do think it is a movie for Christians to see. Unfortunately, many “fundies” would not even give this movie a chance, so I see a lot of “preaching to the choir” going on with the one.
The positive thing for this movie is you come out asking a bunch of questions on a plethora of subjects. I think we might all see echoes of our own stumbling journeys: our insecurities, our hypocrisies, our pain. We might even feel a little convicted, but the movie only hints at answers. Which is good, because do we really have all the right answers? If the movie told me exactly what the answer was on these subjects I would have vomited right there on site.
The movie exposes a lot of the bullshit underneath the umbrella of any denominational dogma, which I liked because this exposure of bullshit is exactly what my blog is about. Mr.Miller is another person allergic to BS, and he went to Reed College to try an escape it (to only find it in different form). Remember, it is not about the people inside the system, it is about the bullshit the system dumps into our heads forcefully.
This movie definitely doesn’t present a “plan of salvation”, and it does not march a bunch of foot soldiers (wearing the armor of God) to the cadence of specific doctrine. Instead what I took away from it was that it let people see the little streaks of light (Christ) poking through the misdirection of a college student that was trying so hard to get as far away from God as possible. God never leaves, and you cannot escape Him.. he is everywhere. He is even at the so-called “God-less” liberal arts colleges.
Donald Miller has a different story than mine for leaving the religion, or for me the institutional church. He was hurt from people he trusted within the church, and hypocrisy sent him packing. For me, I was never directly hurt by anyone within the church, just after time of trying to find Christ in community I started to see the bullshit in the system through my allergic watery eyes. Yes, I was saddened when I left the church and no one called or even gave a shit (even though I let everyone know I was not leaving them). However, I was not surprised when no one cared that I did not attend anymore, because I knew I was living in a false sense of community. I was living in fake, no heart only surface world, and I would have been completely blown off my rocker if the people I knew for years wanted to actually keep me in their lives even though I was not in the system they so treasured and worshipped.
Unfortunately many of the people sitting in the seats of this film are pretty much already on the same page as Donald Miller, so to have this film bring out good discussion among all Christ followers I see as non-existent.
Anyone else see this movie? What were your thoughts?